Building towards a sustainable future: a Climate Curriculum

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Building towards a sustainable future
The Amsterdam Academy of Architecture's Climate Curriculum

The Amsterdam Academy of Architecture’s climate curriculum is our steadfast commitment and framework. It aims to reshape how we approach learning and teaching architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture. We advocate for nature-positive, regenerative, and equitable design in every facet of our education and research.

Climate breakdown and biodiversity collapse are reshaping the landscapes and environments we inhabit. These aren’t just discussion topics; they are transforming the very fabric of spatial and material realities in which design operates. It’s imperative that we reconsider the priorities in architectural education today.

Our climate curriculum represents our commitment to envision, experiment with, and refine educational formats. These formats aim to teach spatial design as a tool that acknowledges the systemic challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and social crises. Furthermore, they equip students to envision collective material and spatial futures.


Community Involvement

The climate curriculum engages the entire Academy community—students, teachers, researchers, staff, and practitioners—in ongoing dialogue and action. This curriculum remains a work in progress, prompting us to continuously question and redefine what we design, how we design, and for whom we design.

Active participation from our school community is essential. It fuels our collective efforts to reimagine learning, from the topics explored in studio briefs to our teaching and working methods and even the definition of design output. We explore these areas through various educational formats.


Educational Formats

Our climate curriculum serves as a guiding framework, prompting internal discussions and critical evaluations of our studio projects and classes. We consistently ask: Is our design approach socially and environmentally just? Is it nature-positive and regenerative?

  • Interdisciplinary Design Studios: At the Academy, our design studios are interdisciplinary, blending architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture. Many are co-taught by design practitioners and experts from fields beyond traditional design, such as social sciences, art, and community organising. This approach encourages students to explore diverse ways of engaging with spatial and material design challenges.
  • Lectures and Classes: Our studios are complemented by thematic classes and lectures that delve into architectural cultures, design techniques, and design histories & theories. We strive for a curriculum that reflects the diverse and expansive nature of the design world.
  • The Concurrent Model: Academy students engage in practice-based work alongside their studies. We offer a broad perspective on what constitutes practice in architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture, aiming to expand students’ understanding of professional design beyond traditional boundaries.


Building a Network

While our climate curriculum is deeply rooted in our local context, it has an international outlook. We are dedicated to fostering a global movement of schools, departments, students, educators, and researchers committed to rethinking design education.

We collaborate with others to build an international network that shares insights, tests educational methods, and drives change. Working with a diverse range of schools offers us a chance to bring together a constellation of critically open-ended practices. Additionally, we are developing a network of climate-committed student exchanges to complement our existing exchange programs like Crafting Circularity, EMiLA, and the HouseEurope! network.